Episcopal Divinity School announces its 2008 Commencement Ceremony on May 15, 2008 at the First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 2:00 pm. EDS will present honorary doctor of divinity degrees to five individuals for their social justice work: The Rt. Rev. John Chane, Kevin Johnson, Cynthia Shattuck, Katie Sherrod, and Hellen Wangusa. The Commencement address will be delivered by Hellen Wangusa, Anglican Observer to the United Nations.
“The honorary degrees committee spends a great deal of time crafting a ‘class’ of honorary degree recipients each year that reflect the values of the school: justice, compassion, and reconciliation,” said The Rev. Dr. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, Academic Dean. “We look not only to the church, and lay and ordained people who work for the church as candidates, but each year hope to also honor people who consistently ‘give back’ to their communities, as well as young and unsung advocates for justice. This year, each of the people we are honoring, in a number of ways, represents excellence in their fields and ministries of justice and peace locally as well as throughout the world.”
The Rt. Rev. John Chane, Bishop of Washington, is a peace maker who has traveled twice to Iran at the invitation of President Khatami, and has invited the Iranian leader to speak at the National Cathedral. He was recently appointed to serve on a Global Anglican Task Force investigating human rights violations in the Kingdom of Swaziland, Africa. Prior to attending Seminary, Bishop Chane worked as an urban community organizer in Boston’s South End, and Roxbury.
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Kevin Johnson, retired NBA player with the Phoenix Suns, is a businessman and activist in Arizona and California. In his retirement (at age 36) he manages St. Hope Corporation, a non-profit community development corporation designed to expand economic, education, and social opportunities for inner city communities. He is the founder of St. Hope Academy in Sacramento, an after school program for inner city children. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Johnson has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey program, discussing the plight of youth in America. Among his achievements is the revitalization of the Boys Choir of Harlem.
Cynthia Shattuck, lay woman and consulting editor for Church Publishing, is recognized for her role in giving voice to lost voices, publishing the works of authors such as Verna Dozier so their words are accessible to a wider audience. She is passionate about her work, and an entrepreneur in the religious press business. Shattuck co-edited The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer in 1996. The guide traces the many revisions that the Anglican Book of Common Prayer has undergone, and examines the various versions of the prayer book used in different countries. She serves on the board of the Anglican Theological Review, the Sewanee Theological Review, and is a founding member of Episcopal Publishing Ministries. Shattuck is also a member of the advisory board of Forward Movement Publications.
Katie Sherrod is a freelance writer and television producer based in Fort Worth, Texas, and a contributing editor to The Witness. She is an outspoken advocate for women’s reproductive rights, and for battered women. In 1972, she wrote a newspaper series on the crime of rape, which led to the formation of the Rape Crisis Task Force, now the Rape Crisis Center. Another series she wrote on battered women was the basis for the made-for-TV movie “Battered,” and caused the formation of Women’s Haven, a United Way sponsored shelter for battered women and their children. A pioneer among women journalists, she was the metropolitan editor of the Fort Worth Star, and was named one of Fort Worth’s Outstanding Women in 1988, and Texas Woman of the Year in 1989. In recent years she has been a spokesperson for LGBT inclusion and for the mainstream voice of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Hellen Wangusa is an Anglican lay woman, and since 2006, the Anglican Observer to the United Nations. Previous to her present position, she served as the United Nations’ Africa coordinator for the Millennium Development Goals. A native of Uganda, she worked as the National Women’s coordinator for the Anglican Church of Uganda and was responsible for developing national programs, fundraising, and managing a staff of 27. From 1997-2004, Wangusa was coordinator and one of the founding members of the African Women’s Economic Policy Network (AWEPON), a faith-based women’s organization in Africa that also coordinates the UN’s Millennium Campaign for Eastern Africa. On March 9, 2007, Wangusa was a keynote speaker at the TEAM (Toward Effective Anglican Mission) Conference in Boksburg, South Africa.